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CALIFORNIA

Ogden to Sell Concession Unit to Aramark

Food: Firm also plans to shed venue-management division and ownership of Sun Theater in Anaheim.

March 31, 2000|MARC BALLON and PHIL WILLON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Ogden Corp., which sells hot dogs, beer and other munchies at some of Southern California's top sports and entertainment venues, said Thursday that it agreed to sell its food and beverage concession and venue-management units to rival Aramark Corp. for $225 million.

A prominent player on the Southland entertainment scene, Ogden's entertainment division manages or provides food and beverage service to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and the Arrowhead Pond and Edison International Field in Anaheim.

Ogden also owns the Sun Theater in Anaheim and a few stores and restaurants at the Block in Orange, an open-air shopping center.

Although it is shedding its entertainment and aviation holdings to concentrate on its energy business, including 28 waste-to-energy facilities, New York-based Ogden will continue to manage the Pond.

The company signed a 30-year contract in 1993 to run the arena and agreed to pay most of the facility's $130 million in debt.

Under the deal, Aramark will assume the food and beverage concession contract at the Pond, as well as at Edison Field, the Great Western Forum and Staples Center.

Michael Roth, director of communications for Staples Center, said the Ogden sale isn't expected to have a major impact on arena concessions.

The deal also would mean the end of Ogden's ownership of the Sun Theater, a 1,500-seat concert venue that was formerly Tinseltown. The Sun opened for business Oct. 1 and has put on 70 shows to date, including concerts by Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

Philadelphia-based Aramark, the third-largest food-services provider, already holds the concession contract for Dodger Stadium, Enron Field in Houston and Coors Field in Denver. Ogden customers that Aramark will add include Wrigley Field in Chicago, the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

The deal would mean that Arawill serve more than 75 million people annually at more than 45 professional sports facilities, 30 convention centers and 25 amphitheaters nationwide.

Aramark spokesman Chris Hardwick declined to comment on what, if any, changes Aramark plans to make at the local venues that it will be serving.

Earlier this month, Ogden announced the sale of its theme-park unit to Alfa Alfa Holdings of Greece. That unit included Raging Waters in San Dimas and the 22-acre Castle Amusement Park in Riverside.

As part of the latest deal, which is expected to close within three months, Aramark also will assume $11 million in debt.

Ogden shares closed Thursday at $13.56, up 44 cents, on trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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